There are a million books available out there that you can use as a guide to help you build on and improve your personality. These books may be self-improvement books, autobiographies, business books, or even fiction or illustrated novels.
We read our way through several of them to bring you five books enriched with tips and lessons to help you improve your personality.
1. LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT
What it says: “Money followed; it never led.”
Who wrote it: Peter Buffett, an American musician and composer. He’s also the youngest son of American business magnate and the most successful investor of the 20th century, Warren Buffett.
Why we recommend it: This book pretty much sums up the biggest life lessons everyone needs to learn. It’s about family, passions, education, work, money, and the pros and cons of having the freedom of choices.
While the book covers many different topics, the resounding takeaway is that a strong foundation is an important factor on how we see the world. The values you grew up on, the relationship dynamics of your immediate family, and the reliability of a familiar base has a direct impact on how you, as an individual, would live your life.
Why You Should Read It: Its frank narration about finding your passion and making your own path in life will drive home two things: first is that we should design our lives based on where our passion and skills meet and not be boxed in by family, business, education, or expectations. Second is that money, while important, is not the most important resource and should only be viewed as a means to an end and not the end itself.
2. THE ART OF WAR
What it says: “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Who wrote it: Sun Tzu, a military general and strategist of ancient China.
Why we recommend it: While this is a book about military strategy, managing conflicts, and winning battles, what it says is applicable to daily life. So much so that it has been translated, analyzed, and applied by business professionals all over the world.
It’s a pretty straightforward, cut-and-dried list of things to do and to be at a time of war. But the wisdom beneath the words is hundredfold, because what is life but a million different wards waged a million different times? It talks about winning the war before actually starting and insists on avoiding conflict as much as possible. The key takeaway? Avoid conflict. If you can’t, better win it.
Why You Should Read It: Sun Tzu insists on knowing both your and your enemy’s strengths and weaknesses to win the war. This is a book that tells you to use logic, rationality, as well as full knowledge of all available information before making a move. It is, essentially, a book on how to deal with different people and different conflicts by working on the things you can control and managing those you can’t.
3. THINK LIKE A FREAK
What it says: “Solving a problem is hard enough; it gets that much harder if you’ve decided beforehand it can’t be done.”
Who wrote it: Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, Economist and Journalist, respectively, who also co-authored Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics.
Why we recommend it: It’s a funny and witty hodgepodge of stories and research the authors had done, with emphasis on their process of looking at and doing things differently.
This is a look on the research the two authors had when they wrote their first two books, Freakonmics and Superfreakonomics. They use some of their previous research to present how their though process flowed and how you can apply the same principles to be able to think out of the box.
Why You Should Read It: Have you always been told that you should think like a kid and always be curious? That you should always ask questions without regard to whether people might think they’re “stupid” questions? Difficult, huh? This book illustrates how you can actually think like a freak – someone who sees the world differently than most people. It can show you how to stretch and practice your creativity.
4. HOW GOOGLE WORKS
What it says: “Optimism is an essential ingredient for innovation. How else can the individual welcome change over security, adventure over staying in a safe place?”
Who wrote it: Jonathan Rosenberg and Eric Schmidt, the Adviser to CEO and the Executive Chairman of Google, respectively.
Why we recommend it: Google has appeared eight times on the list of Fortune Magazine’s Best Company to Work, four times of which it earned the top spot. In this book, the authors share how a different way of managing work and people made that happen.
They talk about hiring based on talents but safeguarding their company culture. This book also discusses how being empowered and having balanced lives makes their employees more invested in the company. It’s a rundown of Google’s hiring process and talent management, with emphasis on talent management to ensure productivity that is beneficial to both the employee and the company.
Why You Should Read It: This book talks about how they manage their best talents to ensure high work productivity. While it’s best for managers, it’s a good read for anyone as it gives real examples of how you can work effectively and efficiently, helping you figure out what kind of motivation and environment pushes you to be as efficient and productive as you can.
5. SCREW IT, LET’S DO IT: LESSONS IN LIFE
What it says: “Respect is how to treat everyone, not just those you want to impress.”
Who wrote it: Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, comprising over 400 companies including Virgin Airlines and Virgin Records.
Why we recommend it: Sir Richard Branson is the poster child of the success born out of hard work. Entrepreneurial at a young age, starting with a magazine while still in school, his many endeavors are supported by his family. This book is his personal account of his experiences and how they shaped him.
Branson talks to you about how the values instilled on him by his parents are crucial to how he runs his businesses. He also talks about how his employees see him, and how he tries to influence his employees to run the business the way he does. It’s chock-full business and personal advice. Branson’s down-to-earth tone and his infectious humor is a plus.
Why You Should Read It: It’s a personal account of a very successful businessman; you get a first-hand narrative on how Branson’s mind works and how he sees the world. It’s a direct look into how a business genius’s mind works when faced with different business and personal conflicts and situations.
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